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No plans to sell Bisleri now, says Ramesh Chauhan

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NEW DELHI, March 20 (PTI): Veteran industrialist Ramesh Chauhan on Monday said he has no plans to sell his packaged water business Bisleri International and is not in talks with any parties for the same, three days after Tata Consumer Products Ltd called off their negotiations.

Chauhan had been in negotiations with the Tata group’s FMCG arm Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) for nearly four months but the deal did not go through.

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When asked as to whether he has any plans to sell Bisleri now, Chauhan told PTI, “We have no plans.” However, when asked about media report suggesting that his daughter Jayanti Chauhan is ready to lead the company, the 82-year-old pioneer of the Indian packaged water business declined to comment.

Earlier in November last year, Chauhan had said he was in discussions with several players, including TCPL, to sell out his Bisleri business.

On being asked about the reasons for the sale of Bisleri’s business, the octogenarian business leader had said someone had to handle it and look into it.

His daughter Jayanti is not interested in handling the business, Chauhan had added.

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Later in a media statement, Bisleri International Spokesperson had also said: “We are currently in discussion and cannot disclose further.”

However, last week resting the speculations about a possible acquisition, TCPL, in a regulatory update, said it has not entered into any agreements over the acquisition of Bisleri.

“In this regard, the company wishes to update that it has now ceased negotiations with Bisleri with regard to a potential transaction and to confirm that the company has not entered into any definitive agreement or binding commitment on this matter,” TCPL had said.

Bisleri International operates in the bottled water segment with its flagship brand Bisleri and spring water Vedica. It is also present in fizzy drinks with brands – Spyci, Limonata, Fonzo and PinaColada.

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Three decades ago, Chauhans sold their soft drinks business to the US beverage major The Coca-Cola Company. He transferred brands such as Thums Up, Gold Spot, Citra, Maaza and Limca in 1993 to the Atlanta-headquartered firm.

TCPL was formed after merging the consumer products business of Tata Chemicals with Tata Global Beverages. It has done some acquisitions and is expanding its reach in the addressable market as it aspires to be a formidable player in the FMCG category by expanding its play into the existing category and venturing into new areas.  TCPL is already present in the bottled water segment with its brand Himalayan. Besides, it is also present in the hydration segment with Tata Copper Plus Water and Tata Gluco.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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